By Lori Saldaña
Imagine living next door to a dangerous, aggressive bully. Sometimes you can hear him outside in his yard, over the low fence that separates your property, fighting and scaring members of his own household. Sometimes you can hear them cry out in pain and fear when he attacks.
If you see him walking around the neighborhood you cross the street to avoid getting too close since you know how potentially dangerous he is.
Now imagine this bully attacks a member of your family- not once, but twice. He inflicts painful injuries that require over $1000 in medical bills that are not covered by insurance.
When you request compensation from the neighbors after the first attack, you are refused. You find an attorney to write a demand letter, and only then do they grudgingly pay the medical bills. But nothing will restore your peace of mind. You live in fear of another attack.
A few years later it happens again, under almost identical circumstances. Twice you have seen this bully viciously attack a defenseless member of your family before your eyes. This second time, you try intervene, and come within inches of being attacked yourself.
After this incident you have nightmares, so you decide to file a report with authorities to have the bully declared dangerous. The case goes to court, and you are told: they will only declare the bully “dangerous” if and when he actually kills someone.
Now imagine continuing living next door, waiting and wondering if there will be another attack, maybe this time resulting in a death.
That’s the situation I’m in. And I’m struggling with what to do, because the bully is not a person- he’s a large, aggressive pit bull. And the victim is my 12-year-old poodle, Yvette.
Like many pet owners, I consider my pets members of the family. I take Yvette with me to various places, on walks, and to dog-friendly businesses. But many of my efforts to socialize Yvette around other dogs have been destroyed by these attacks. I can no longer take her to dog parks- she is terrified when large dogs are running loose nearby.
This dog has attacked Yvette two times, requiring veterinarian care. After the first attack, the owners refused to pay for surgery that was required to manage an infection- a common occurrence, according to the vet who treated her and research I have done. I found an attorney who sent them a demand letter, advising them of their legal responsibilities. They finally paid for most (but not all) of the vet bills.
I also contacted the County Animal Services department but decided not to report the first attack. Our families have been neighbors for decades. This was, I hoped, a 1-time incident that would not be repeated.
But in December 2014, under almost identical circumstances, Yvette was attacked again. Their dog escaped from their owner’s control as we were walking past their house. Yvette was her on a leash, on the sidewalk. Their dog was at the gate with his owner, saw Yvette, broke away from the owner, and attacked her before I could pick her up.
When I finally did grab her, the dog leapt to attack her again, frightening both of us. Once again, she was bleeding from injuries. Once again, I found myself spending time and money at an emergency veterinarian office. Instead of going to a friend’s holiday party, I spent the evening looking for a pharmacy to fill a prescription for antibiotics.
This time, I had nightmares. I called County Animal Services to report the attack. I filed a report and met with a very kind and thorough Animal Services Officer. The report was submitted to the City Attorney’s office, and they scheduled a court hearing- but never notified me when it would occur.
By chance, I called the City Attorney’s office late in the afternoon, the day before the 8:30 am court date. By chance, I was not scheduled to work at that time. I decided to go downtown and attend the hearing. I waited for hours before the case was called, and at the last minute I convinced the Deputy City Attorney to withdraw the simple compensation offer. It would have only required another payment for medical bills, but done nothing to prevent future attacks.
I asked him to evaluate the severity and repetition of these attacks and come up with a way to PREVENT them from continuing. And then I waited, playing phone tag with the attorney and wondering what would happen next.
As I waited, a friend and fellow small-dog owner sent me a link to a local news report. (My friend’s dog had also been harassed by a large dog at a park near his home.) The report described how dogs had entered a yard in East County, and viciously attacked the neighbor’s dog- one much larger than Yvette. The injuries were horrendous. The dog barely survived.
It was painful to read the report, and I realized how fortunate I was that my Yvette had suffered relatively minor injuries. I can’t imagine how the other owner feels, having his dog go through such terror.
Also, it turns out the dogs in that attack are being “put down” because of the severity of the mauling, even though the dog lived. At this point I have to ask: Do I have to wait until my dog, or another dog, is killed before something will be done to protect her- and me- from more attacks?
What’s the value of requiring my neighbors to pay vet bills for my dog’s injuries, and do nothing to prevent more attacks? There seems to be a good chance of this happening again. My dog is 12 years old and weights 18 pounds. I live in fear she will not survive a 3rd attack by this younger, 70 pound dog.
A week after the initial hearing, I spoke to the Deputy City Attorney working on this case. He told me he has given this case a lot of thought. He also told me it doesn’t look like there’s much he can do. He can try to make reinforcing and raising the height of the backyard fence a condition of the owner’s probation. But the owner and defense attorney need to agree and stipulate to that, and there’s no guarantee of that happening.
Attempts to find an attorney to help me with this case have, so far, failed. Most don’t want to waste their time on such a small matter.
So I’m writing about this case, and making the details more public, in the hope of changing the laws and procedures related to attacks by large, aggressive dogs that owners cannot control. Unfortunately, rescue centers are full of dogs that are not properly trained or socialized. As more people continue to adopt large, aggressive dogs, laws and regulations need to keep pace with the reality of these attacks.
I want more people to be informed of their rights and responsibilities as pet owners. And I want the court and prosecutors to communicate better with owners of pets who are attacked, and at least speak with them before these cases go to court.
At minimum, victims need to be told when a court hearing is scheduled regarding their case.
Pet owners with dangerous dogs that repeatedly attack other dogs should not be able to simply pay medical bills and essentially buy their way out of problems. And owners of small, socialized dogs should not have to live in fear of repeated attacks.
I hope the County Supervisors, who are responsible for these regulations, are paying attention to these cases.
I hope the City Attorney’s office will respect the needs of victims, and take these cases more seriously.
But most importantly, I hope I never have to deal with the aftermath of another attack, one that Yvette may not survive.
Mary Ann Redfern says
This, unfortunately, is the “status quo” ALL OVER AMERICA. Local governments are IGNORING this problem, and people, pets and livestock animals are suffering as a result. Sickening. PITS AREN’T PETS, PEOPLE. THEY WERE NEVER INTENDED TO BE PETS. WISE UP!
Mike S says
Pitbulls are lovely pets for the right owners. Pitbulls often get a bad rap because of ignorant owners. Please take a look at Cesar Millan’s work in training dogs and you will see that the particular breed of dog does not matter. Any dog can be vicious including the loving labrador. If you want to really educate your neighbors and yourself about proper dog training, take my advice, do your homework and you will see that in 99% of the cases of vicious attack dogs, the owners are the problem. That dog might not be the right pet for those owners but the pitbull breed should not written off because of ignorant humans.
Chris R says
Mike, maybe you need to go back and read his site where he states breeds such as pit bulls are different and do require special attention and needs.
And 99% are owner problems? Wow, that’s a lot of bad “owners”. I guess Rita Woodard, Rebecca Carey, and Darla Napora were bad owners? Please, stop it.
Sophie Cairns says
NO dog that has over 400 years of breeding to attack without warning or provocation to attack and to stay on the target until it is dead. They were bred to kill and take down bulls and then when that was outlawed, they turned to fighting the dogs on each other. There is a very good reason that these are the prime choice of dog fighters. Dog fighters do not choose poodles.
Pit Bulls, despite their wagging tails and goofy tongues hanging out cannot be immune to their genetic heritage and there is NO way of telling when… or if… they will ‘go Pit’. It can be from months old puppies to 10 years senior dog. Statistically it is about 2 years of age that becomes the most at risk. Go to any ‘shelter’ and look at the 40% of dogs there… they are PBs and they are approximately 2 years of age with no real truth about how they got there. Puppies are cute, but then when they come at your throat, they aren’t so cute any more.
Last year’s total was this. Feel free to google and verify these deaths…. and look up the attacks which average 80 per month.
Pit bull type dogs killed at least 36 of them directly.
18 killed by pit bull type dogs directly of the 33 dead are children.
Stars indicate people killed by a ‘family’ pit bull – ones that had been raised and cherished as an indoor pet, ‘never showed aggression before’, and knew the victim.
Child fatalities by pit bull type dog (18):
Kara E. Hartrich, 4 years old, Bloomington, Illinois. **
Je’vaeh Maye, 2 years old, Temple Texas. **
Braelynn Rayne Coulter, 3 years old, High Point, North Carolina. **
Kenneth Santillan, 13 years old, Patterson, N.J. by a Bullmastiff
Raymane Camari Robinson, 2 years old, Killeen, TX by a Bullmastiff **
Mia Derouen, 4 years old, Houma, Louisiana **
Christopher Malone, 3 years old, Thornton, MS **
John Harvard, 5 year old, Riverside, AL **
Kassi Haith, 4 years old, Felton, Del.
Demonta Collins, 13 years old, Augusta, Georgia he dashed into traffic as he was running from a pit bull attacking him and was hit by a car and was killed.
Davon Jiggetts,17 years old, Riverdale, Georgia he dashed into traffic as he was running from a pit bull attacking him and was hit by a car as was the pit bull, both were killed.
Holden William Garrison-10 weeks old, Springfield Township, MI **
Friends of family state that the dog is a Pit bull Mix a Catahoula Hound mixed with Pit Bull.
Logan Shepard, 4 years old, Riverview, Florida **
Jonathon Quarles Jr, 7 months old, Dayton, Ohio. **
Joel Chirieleison, 6 years old, Fanning Springs, FL **
Deriah Solem, 22 months, ST. Charles, Mo. **
Javon Dade, Jr, 4 years old, Goulds, FL **
Summer Sears, 4 years old, Tallassee, AL by Husky/German Shepard Cross
Christopher Camejo – 2 – Crystal River , FL – Rottweiler’s – [12.6.14]
Adult fatalities by pit bull type (17):
Christina Burleson, 43 years old, Houston, Texas. **
Klonda S. Richey, 57 years old, Dayton, Ohio. by two Bullmastiff’s
Nancy Newberry, 77 years old, Phoenix, AZ. **
Petra Aguirre, 83 years old, San Antonio TX **
Betty Clark, 75 years old, San Antonio TX **
Katie Morrison, 20-years old, Smiths Station, AL **
Rita Pepe, 93 years old, Branford, Conn by a rescued pit bull
Craig Sytsma, 46 years old, Metamora, Mich.2 cane corsos and Italian Pit bull type dog.
Jessica Dawn Norman, 33-years old, Sebring, FL
Cindy Whisman, 59 years old, Madison Township, Ohio **
Daniel Glass, 51 years old, Lamar, Mississippi.
Alice Payne, 75 years old, Cave City, AR. **
Juan Fernandez, 59 years old, Modesto, CA
Alemeaner Dial, 83 YEARS OLD, Robeson County, N.C. **
Rita Woodard, 64 years old, Corpus Christi. TX **
Edward Cahill, 40 years old, Portage, IND **
That’s 80% killed by attacking pit bull type dogs.
Pit Bull type dogs are only about 6% of the entire dog population.
Debbie Bell says
Of course it’s always the humans, for choosing to acquire dogs specifically created to mature to feel good killing dogs/their own kind. This is a horrible defect in the dog, a normally social/pack animal.
Proof that pits /bullies are different is the fact that all USA and UK dog men use only pits/bullies.
They need dogs who will mature to feel good killing their own kind, traveling silently away from home territory or other resources to guard, to a distant pit where upon arrival they immediately, silently, without a moments warning or threat display, attack and then not stop.
If you want a dog who will work 4 hours to escape and enter the property of another for the sole purpose of killing their own kind, don’t get a German Shepherd or a collie, get a pitbull.
Yes all dogs can bite, but few have the drive to seek and destroy dogs, as this is a defect specifically created and needed by dog fighters.
They say you can judge the morality of a country by how it treats the animals. What of a country that continues to breed expert dog killing dogs? Is there any trait worse than unprovoked, unpredictable dog aggression in a dog large enough to kill all other size dogs, adult humans, even large farm animals?
The original bully people did not care about dog welfare, as they set about creating dog aggression, their “kill or die trying” dogs.
The current bully people do not care about dog welfare either, as they continue to monger pitbulls, the Hand Grenade dogs. Hand grenades pose no threat at all, until somebody messes with the pin. With pitbulls, it’s 200 years of instinct that controls their pin.
GtownV Viv Smitt says
LOVE THIS POST!!!
Harve Morgan says
Mike S. What kind of owners want a breed that was specifically and selectively bred to kill? Cesar Millan is condemned by almost every renown behaviorist, his methods are from the dark ages. I guess you haven’t seen all the videos of his ‘graduates’ going on to attack, especially his very own new pit Junior. You are full of it to say 99% s the owner, in the case of pit bulls 100% is the breed, a deadly mutant canine.
Lets support this family and help save lives. This is ridiculous. Look what happened to Klonda Ritchie. Speak out
SD District Attorney (Twitter)@SDDistAtty
Thank you, sir, for taking the time to tell your story. Our voices are many but we are so quiet compared to the rabid pitbull crowd. We go about things through the proper channels expecting the system to do the right thing only to be let down. The deviant one gets off again and bears no responsibility. Punish the deed requires a victim. Focus needs to be placed on PREVENTION, not damage control. And prevention starts with breed specific legislation.
I honestly believe this is not so much about dogs but about humans. There are two kinds of humans. Those who seek to prevent bad things from ever happening, and those that just go through life by the seat of their pants. I know which kind of human you are.
This story hits close to home to me, as I am also a poodle lover (I currently have 2 Toys) and lost one over 20 years ago to an attack by a mixed breed dog. Two years ago, while walking my dogs (I have a 3rd–Yorkie/Poodle mix) they were all attacked by an obnoxious, (unleashed) yellow LAB, that lives a street over. Luckily the injuries were minor, but I immediately went home, got on Amazon and bought both a stun gun and pepper spray, which I carry every time I take my dogs out. I would hate to have to use either, but to keep myself and my own dogs safe, I will.
good idea …hit the dog first and the owner second. i am done with these people who don’t leash their dogs. i don’t ever take mine out in public here. ever. they stay in my yard
Gtown Viv Smitt says
I say “Unleashed is Unloved”
I want to have complete control over my dog so that I can keep him safe. Because I love him. I do not understand people who let their dogs roam around to harm others but to also let harm be done to it.
This isn’t rocket science. 1)strict liability for all dog owners. Your dog hurts someone, you pay. You go to jail if they’re seriously hurt or killed. You carry insurance to cover the victims of you stupid choice of breed or crap training. 2) Put vicious dogs down. Don’t give a dog that has proven itself dangerous more chances to maim and kill. 3) realistic containment standards. Pit bulls are the number ONE breed for maiming and killing people (fatalpitbullattacks.com), pets (17barks.blogspot.com), serial attacks, rampage attacks, and FAILING a ‘second chance’ (dogbitelaw.com). They have been known to jump off second floor balconies to attack, break into people’s homes to kill the pets inside, and look on youtube to see them sailing over six foot fences and scaling a 12 foot chain link. If your dog CAN get out, it WILL get out, particularly if it is well known for having a high prey drive.
Dog bites on children are close if not number one ER visit…. A mistake not reporting the first bite…..
Pit-bull Rescue Central, the leading authority of pit bull types, admits MOST pit-bull types are not safe around other dogs because of their genetics. For that reason alone is why I do not consider them safe family pets for our neighborhoods. These are powerful animals that break away from their guardians all the time and maul & kill another beloved pet or person in front of a child or person. This is a typical pit attack on another beloved pet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZTiGWgQubA Too many children & adults have watched their beloved pets be mauled to death by pit bulls. Many develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after watching a horrific pit attack: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=684_1405912995
According to Pit Bull Rescue Central, “It is a FACT that our pit bulls, AmStaffs and pit mixes come with a built-in fighting heritage.It doesn’t matter where we get them from, whether it be the pound, a stray we pick up, or a puppy we buy from a breeder. The majority of pit bulls will, at some point in their lives, exhibit some degree of dog-on-dog aggression. Yet, chances are that a “normal” pit bull will not share his affection with other animals.We cannot predict when or where it will happen and we can’t love, train or socialize it out ofthe dog. Pit bulls may not start fights, but they will finish them.” http://www.pbrc.net/misc/PBRC_dogpark.pdf”
Pit Bull Rescue Central recommends ALL pit guardians to have a break stick. FOR ME THIS IS ANOTHER RED FLAG! Does not sound like a safe family pet if you need a breakstick on hand. “Since pit bulls have a strong fighting background, we recommend that pet owners also have a breaking stick as a precaution, even if they don’t plan to use it in an illegal context. However, please be discreet. Breaking sticks are not something to brag about and the general public might have the wrong impression if you walk around with a stick in your hand. Breaking sticks are not illegal, but they are considered dog fighting paraphernalia in certain states and/or with certain law enforcement agents.” http://www.pbrc.net/breaksticks.html This person demonstrates how to use a break stick on a pit-bull: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfMVH4wY5Pg
From Rescue Train “It’s a mistake to think the fighting gene can be easily trained or loved out of a pit-bull.” http://www.therescuetrain.org/pit_bull_education.php
The guru of pit bulls who has a national TV show called Pitbull & Parolees, Tia Torres /Villalobos Rescue Center, admitting to pit-bulls are not safe around other beloved dogs in our communities because of their inherited genetic trait of dog aggression.
Most pit bull type dogs are produced by unethical backyard pit bull breeders who are breeding for aggression and power to create the ultimate canine gladiator. They are supplying to dog fighters, drug dealers, people that want a guard dog or a dog that looks like a protection dog. Pit-bull type dogs are the number one dog surrendered to shelters, a million every year, mostly because of aggression issues. Then many are rehomed by irresponsible pit bull advocates back into our communities. Watch this clip of unethical backyard breeders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiZOj9o6jpE So basically people who have pits are playing Russian Roulette against our communities. I appreciate that Pit bull Rescue Central is telling pit-bull guardians not to take their dog to off-leash parks but many pit guardians are still very ignorant to this recommendation. What is bewildering to me is that Pit Bull Rescue Central admits that other beloved dogs in the community are not safe around pit-bulls because of their genetic makeup but promotes them as a great family pet. For me this is a red flag that you are compromising public safety and the safety of our beloved pets in our communities. Of all the dog breeds, they are the all time number one killer of humans and other people’s beloved pets. If all these guardians would have picked a safer pet like a beagle instead of a pit, we would not even be having this conversation. What other type of dog has the ability to kill humans that would be mistaken for a pit bull type? These families know exactly what breed killed their loved one: http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics-fatalities-2014.php Then these pit-bull advocates are oblivious and offended why people do not want these dogs in the neighborhood. REALLY? Are you really that blind? Do I really have to spell it out for you? Many people in the neighborhood have beloved pets that they consider family members. They are concerned for their pet’s safety and they do not want their dog to get mauled to death. Now people in the neighborhood who have pets have to live in fear if this powerful pitbull will get away from the guardian and hurt or kill their beloved pet. Almost all dog guardians have an accidental mishap where their dog gets away from them by mistake. Pit bull type dogs are 0 mistake dogs and people make too many mistakes.
you need to get legislation written and passed. if there are no laws, there is no justice. sometimes even with laws, there are no justice but in our democratic society, that’s how things get done. if you can’t find a political ally, go to change.org or one of those and get a petition going to the governor. other communities handle vicious dogs differently. if you can find a state with good vicious dog laws, contact them and see if they can help you get it done here. i will not take my dogs walking in neighborhoods, parks or the beach here in so cal. i don’t trust people to handle their dogs….people have unleashed dogs in leash only area all the time. and they will NEVER leash their dogs if you ask them to. if you want to get it done, lori, do it. it would be a good law and i think you would find a lot of backing for it.
Gtown Viv Smitt says
There definitely needs to be some kind of action. I’ve been looking into it for my county but I don’t even know where to start.
county board of supervisors maybe…what county?
Tom McCartney says
From Dogsbite.org where every “trigger” is documented:
Triggers that Prompt a Pit Bull to Attack:
being an animal control officer
being a mail carrier
being a gas worker
being a landscaper
being a police officer
being a public works employee
being in a wheelchair
borrowing a blender
breaking the ice out of a water bowl
disciplining your dog
driving a vehicle
dropping a glass
feeding the dog
getting off a bus
getting the mail
getting the newspaper
handing someone a phone
having a dog on your lap
having a seizure
having a smoke
hearing an argument
holding a clipboard
holding a mailbag
holding a stuffed animal
hopping off a couch
jumping on a trampoline
knocking on a front door
letting your dog out
mowing your lawn
opening a car door
opening your front door
playing in your backyard
playing in your front yard
playing on a playground
playing on a swing set
playing with a tennis ball
reaching for your purse
reading a bible
remodeling your home
running from bees
saving a family from a fire
seeing a cat run up tree
seeing a dog inside a house
seeing a horse
seeing a squirrel run up tree
seeing a leashed dog
seeing an unleashed dog
sitting on a bed
sitting on your spouse’s lap
showing your spouse affection
sitting in a stroller
sitting in a tire swing
sitting in a wagon
sitting on your porch
slipping on ice
smelling “baby formula”
standing in your backyard
standing in your garage
stepping on an ant pile
the act of bicycling
the act of driving
the act of gardening
the act of sex
the act of jogging
the act of sleeping
the sound of clapping
the sound of screaming
taking out the trash
walking on a beach
walking down a path
walking down a road
walking down a sidewalk
walking a snack sized dog
unloading bags from a car
waiting for a bus
Gtown Viv Smitt says
Ok, good. I don’t do any of that stuff so I must be a responsible pit bull owner!
Tom McCartney says
In North America, from 1982-2013, Pit Bull breeds and mixes have seriously attacked 2,990 humans that resulted in 1,777 maimings and 275 deaths.
The bullmastiff is a Pit bull type dog with the same genetic makeup and danger of a pit bull.
The Bullmastiff was a cross of 40% Old English Bulldog or pit bull type dog and 60% English Mastiff
In North America, from 1982-2013, Bullmastiffs have been responsible for 105 serious attacks on humans, resulting in 61 maimings and 15 deaths.
In North America from 1982-2013, Rottweilers were responsible for 514 attacks on humans, resulting in 81 deaths.
Rottweiler mixes were responsible for 30 attacks on humans, resulting in 4 deaths
The following is a list of the top 10 dog breeds involved in dog attacks in the U.S. and Canada involving humans from September 1982 to December 31, 2013, based on a larger table compiled by Merritt Clifton, former editor of Animal People, an animal rights charity/news group. Clifton now is the editor of Animals 24-7.
A Bullmastiff is considered a pit bull type dog and a pit bull mix between a pit bull and a mastiff and is 40% pit bull.
Breed ****** Attacks doing bodily harm ****** Maimed ****** Deaths
1. Pit bull **********2792 ***********************677 **********263
2. Rottweiler *******514 ************************294 **********81
3. Bull Mastiff ******105 ************************61 ***********15
4. German Shepherd 102 **********************63 ***********15
5. Wolf Hybrid ******85 *************************49 ***********19
6. Akita **************68 ************************50 ************8
7. Boxer *************62 ************************29 ************7
8. Chow *************58 ************************39 ************7
9. Pit bull/Rottweiler mix 50 ********************15 ************15
10.Labrador ********50 *************************39 ************3
The report states that the numbers are compiled from press accounts dating to 1982. It only includes attacks by dogs of clearly identified breed type or ancestry, as designated by animal control officers or others with evident expertise, which have been kept as pets.
All accounts are cross-checked by date, location and identity of the victim, according to the report.
Attacks by police dogs, guard dogs and dogs trained specifically to fight are not included in the report.
About 31,400 dogs attacked about 61,500 other animals in the U.S. in 2013, killing 43,500 and seriously injuring 18,100.
The animals killed included about 12,000 dogs, 8,000 cats, 6,000 hooved animals, and 17,000 other small domestic animals, primarily poultry.
The seriously injured included about 12,400 dogs, 4,000 cats, and 1,700 hooved animals. Few small mammals and poultry survived reported dog attacks.
Pit bulls inflicted 99% of the total fatal attacks on other animals (43,000); 96% of the fatal attacks on other dogs (11,520); 95% of the fatal attacks on livestock (5,700) and on small mammals and poultry (16,150); and 94% of the fatal attacks on cats (11,280).
About 30,000 pit bulls were involved in attacks on other animals, many of them killing multiple other animals.
There are about 3.2 million pit bulls in the U.S. at any given time, according to the annual Animal24-7 surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption via online classified ads.
Thus in 2013 about one pit bull in 107 killed or seriously injured another animal, compared with about one dog in 50,000 of other breeds.
Nationally, fatal and disfiguring attacks by dogs from shelters and rescues have exploded from zero in the first 90 years of the 20th century to 80 since 2010, including 58 by pit bulls, along with 22 fatal & disfiguring attacks by other shelter dogs, mostly Rottweilers & bull mastiffs.
Altogether, 33 U.S. shelter dogs have participated in killing people since 2010, including 24 pit bulls, seven bull mastiffs, and two Rottweilers.
The only dogs rehomed from U.S. shelters to kill anyone before 2000 were two wolf hybrids, rehomed in 1988 and 1989, respectively.
Dog Attack Deaths and Maimings, U.S. & Canada, September 1982 to May.25, 2013.
By compiling U.S. and Canadian press accounts between 1982 and 2013, Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People, shows the breeds most responsible for serious injury and death.
Pit bull type dogs make up only 6% of all dogs in the USA.
The combination of Pit Bulls, rottweilers, their close mixes and wolf hybrids and other Pit Bull Type Dogs:
84% of attacks that induce bodily harm.
75% of attacks to children.
87% of attack to adults.
72% of attacks that result in fatalities.
80% that result in maiming
Merritt Clifton Editor Of Animals24-7:
I have logged fatal & disfiguring dog attacks in the U.S. and Canada since September 1982.
Of the 5,206 dogs involved in fatal and disfiguring attacks on humans occurring in the U.S. & Canada since September 1982, when I began logging the data, 3,588 (68%) were pit bulls; 567 were Rottweilers; 4,439 (85%) were of related molosser breeds, including pit bulls, Rottweilers, mastiffs, bull mastiffs, boxers, and their mixes.
Of the 577 human fatalities, 305 were killed by pit bulls; 89 were killed by Rottweilers; 438 (75%) were killed by molosser breeds.
Of the 3,141 people who were disfigured, 2,232 (68%) were disfigured by pit bulls; 354 were disfigured by Rottweilers; 2,716 (84%) were disfigured by molosser breeds.
Pit bulls–exclusive of their use in dogfighting–also inflict more than 70 times as many fatal and disfiguring injuries on other pets and livestock as on humans, a pattern unique to the pit bull class.
Fatal and disfiguring attacks by dogs from shelters and rescues have exploded from zero in the first 90 years of the 20th century to 80 in the past four years, including 58 by pit bulls, along with 22 fatal & disfiguring attacks by other shelter dogs, mostly Rottweilers & bull mastiffs.
The only dogs rehomed from U.S. shelters to kill anyone, ever, before 2000 were two wolf hybrids in 1988 and 1989. 33 U.S. shelter dogs & one U.K. shelter dog have participated in killing people since 2010, including 24 pit bulls, seven bull mastiffs, and two Rottweilers.
Surveys of dogs offered for sale or adoption indicate that pit bulls and pit mixes are together less than 7% of the U.S. dog population; molosser breeds, all combined, are 9%.
Tom McCartney says
KEVIN COUTTS, Head Dog Ranger, Rotorua, New Zealand
There was concern among dog authorities about American pitbulls being allowed into New Zealand as they were dangerous, unpredictable animals, Mr Coutts said.
“A lot of people in this town get them because they are a staunch dog and they will fight. They are perceived as vicious … It’s frustrating they were ever allowed in the country … we can’t go back now though,” Mr Coutts said.
COUTTS’ comment on a pit car mauling
This sort of thing happens when people own this breed of dog and then don’t look after them.
VICTORIA STILWELL, celebrity dog trainer
Presas are not to be fooled with, they’re dangerous. You’ve got a fighting breed here. You’ve got a dog that was bred for fighting. You’ve got one of the most difficult breeds to handle.
CESAR MILAN, celebrity dog trainer
“Yeah, but this is a different breed…the power that comes behind bull dog, pit bull, presa canario, the fighting breed – They have an extra boost, they can go into a zone, they don’t feel the pain anymore. He is using the bulldog in him, which is way too powerful, so we have to ‘make him dog’ (I guess as in a “regular” dog) so we can actually create the limits.
So if you are trying to create submission in a fighting breed, it’s not going to happen. They would rather die than surrender.”. If you add pain, it only infuriates them..to them pain is that adrenaline rush, they are looking forward to that, they are addicted to it…
That’s why they are such great fighters.” Cesar goes on to say…”Especially with fighting breeds, you’re going to have these explosions over and over because there’s no limits in their brain.”
GARRETT RUSSO, dog trainer
I estimate Medical & Veterinary bills related to injuries caused by pit bulls in the Tompkins Square dog run in 2011, $140,000.00. Estimated Medical (human) & Veterinary (canine) bills from all other breeds and mixed breeds combined during the same period, $5,000.00. (Estimate gathered from reports to by owners to the dog park association.)
STEVE DUNO, dog trainer, pit bull owner
“The dogs that participated in these attacks weren’t Pekingese. You don’t have herds of Pekingese roaming the city attacking people. When someone says all breeds are created equal, well then they’re denying the definition of what a breed is. Breed serves a particular purpose.”
“I like them. They’re eager. They’re athletic. They’re aesthetically pleasing. But even if they’re bred perfectly, they can be problematic, particularly with other dogs.”
“When you combine the breed specific behaviors … with owners who either don’t give a rip, or with owners who (have) too much dog, you have a problem.”
JEAN DONALDSON, dog trainer
Most commonly, she sees dogs with aggression problems. While she’s a fierce opponent of “breed bans” like the proposed outlawing of pit bulls that San Francisco debated two years ago, she believes it’s undeniable that some breeds are predisposed to violence.
Many breeds that were bred as guardians or fighting dogs were carefully designed to not like strangers, she says. She thinks it’s disingenuous of breeders to further enhance this trait, and then expect owners to compensate with training.
ARLENE STERLING, Newaygo County, MI Chief Animal Control Officer
“It is genetically inbred in them to be aggressive. They can be very nice dogs, but they are very prey driven and they are extremely strong. It makes them high risk dogs and it makes them extremely dangerous.”
BOB KERRIDGE, New Zealand SPCA executive director
“That is the only real way to solve this problem – is to license owners and to give them the responsibility that goes with owning a dog. It would be extremely useful when you have a neighbour who is concerned about that dog next door. You can look at it and see they don’t have a license and take it away. That’s owner responsibility.”
“We led the charge to stop the importation of the pitbull because of the concerns they would be crossbred with other dogs… But there’s not a lot we can do about that because it’s happened. We wish someone had listened all those years ago.”
JIM CROSBY, pit bull hired gun
“Line breeding tends to concentrate recessive traits. The propensity for violent attacks by a dog would be a recessive trait.”
MELANIE PFEIFFER, veterinary assistant
Working in a veterinary hospital, you are exposed to all kinds of animal trauma. One of the more common ones is dog fights. I can honestly say that in three out of four cases, an American pit bull terrier is involved. Many times, we are able to save the life of the afflicted, but yesterday, we were not.
I propose that all owned American pit bull terriers be registered and all breeding be halted indefinitely. How many mutilated faces, mangled limbs, butchered pets and even human deaths does it take to convince us that this breed needs to be phased out?
DIANE JESSUP, Washington pit bull owner and expert
“It’s not sensible to get an animal bred for bringing a 2,000-pound bull to its knees and say I’m going to treat this like a soft-mouth Labrador,” says Jessup, the former animal-control officer. She blames novice owners, as much as actual criminals, for bringing the breed into disrepute. “It’s a capable animal, and it’s got to be treated as such.”
JOHN ROCKHOLT, South Carolina dogman
“It’s inhumane not to allow them to fight. If you have to encourage them to fight they are not worth the powder it would take to blow them away. To never allow them any kind of combat…That’s inhumane.”
RAY BROWN, former pit bull owner, breeder, dog fighter
Pit bulls didn’t become dangerous because we fight them; we fight them because the English specifically bred them to be dangerous.
MARK PAULHUS, HSUS southeast regional coordinator
If it chooses to attack, it’s the most ferocious of all dogs. I’ve never known of a pit bull that could be called off (during a fight). They lose themselves in the fight.
F.L. DANTZLER, HSUS director of field services
“They’re borderline dogs. They’re right on the edge all of the time. Even if the dogs are not trained or used for fighting, and even though they are generally good with people, their bloodline makes them prone to violence.”
Jay Powell says
We lost a loving seven year old terrier mix in 1995 to a mauling by two loose pit bulls. The trauma of the attack was intense for my wife out for a walk in our neighborhood. The Animal Control officer was not empathetic or helpful. The owner was prosecuted and let off with a slap on wrist fine and told to fix his fence. The dogs were not put down.
I have contacted Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins who is a dog owner to see how she might help control this menace to our society. Maybe we start by requiring prohibitively high insurance to own a pit bull. And you have to show evidence like you do to drive a car.
All this talk about how they are like any other dog is ridiculous. No matter what is done to reduce the risk of attack, the consequences are too high a price for our society. The consequences of their attacks are 90% devastating injury or death because they are equipped and programmed to dispatch their victims quickly.
If you have one of these dogs and you think you have done a good deed by “rescuing” them, you have made a mistake. It could be deadly to you, your family, your neighbor. They are not just misunderstood, or not just badly trained or handled. All the love in the world you might give is not going to stop them from something that could set them off just that once. They are what they are. A beast, breed to kill. Not a pet.
bob dorn says
People have pit bulls the way some gunners have guns. As we know, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Anyone feel safer now?
Lesley Karen Luscombe says
What a wonderful article; all praise to you for it.
Yvette…. what a lovely dog she is, and a survivor too. So very happy that you have all needlessly gone through this misery, and it is still persisting.
Pit Bull dogs are supposed to BE dog-aggressive; good APBT breeders and owners embrace that and takes steps to keep their dogs ambassadorial to the breed by implementing a number of security measures – but there is a problem with that; good APBT owners and breeders are hard to find. Perhaps it is down to simple ignorance, but more likely it is down to an absolute unwillingness, even at the costs to innocent lives and limbs, to NOT add to the ‘unfair press about Pit Bulls’ by TREATING them differently to other dog breeds and types. Yet WITHOUT those extra measures and that knowledge, their dogs continue to make bad press, to attack other innocent animals, and to kill more people annually than all other breeds and types of dogs COMBINED! They want their cake, and they want to eat it too.
Their dogs ARE different, and they are MEANT to be different. They are ‘joyously aggressive’ (not aggressive because they are resource guarding, or frightened); they are dog-aggressive; their attacks are nigh-on impossible to STOP once they get started; they have NO bite-inhibition, and worse, they have a type of biting/shaking/meat-grinding attack found in the small Terriers but given extra lethalness because of the BULLDOG nature that is inclined NEVER TO LET GO, not until either they or the victim is DEAD.
Thank you for your story – take care – pat on the head for Yvette. Keep safe; stay frosty. You have MANY people who understand what you are going through, and who are completely on your side.
Lesley Karen Luscombe says
I do beg your pardon – I should have typed ‘so UNHAPPY that you have all gone through’ etc. No edit facility, unfortunately. All the best!
Please do not give up!! Document all your activities with animal control and write a letter and send it CERTIFIED MAIL to your local D.A., Mayor, and County officials. Make a sign and parade outside of the DA’s office. Other like minded people will join you and the media will cover it if you fax them and let them know you will be there. Go to the county meetings and make some noise. Then something might get done. Remind this DA that his career is on the line. Just days ago, several officials were handed a negligence lawsuit that will hold Dayton County Florida officials liable for the death of a woman whose problems with pitbulls were ignored. Surely many of the negligent officials will be fired.
Dayton Ohio is where the lawsuit was filed.. not Dayton Florida.. (sorry for the typo) but the gist of it is, the county and the DA are putting their careers in jeopardy. Vicitms have sued governments that are negligent and have won huge settlements. SEE: http://blog.dogsbite.org/2011/08/after-22-million-award-dog-bite-victim.html
Residents please let this DA know doing nothing is negligent and not doing the job at all. https://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Diego-County-District-Attorney/138326932926913 you can give them a review on facebook and send them your sentiments on twitter here: @SDDistAtty
Lori Saldaña says
Thanks to all for comments/questions/suggestions about this.
I was traveling last week, so did not attend the court hearing Friday. I returned home to find the neighbors had raised the height of the fence between our yards, as I had requested, to make sure their dog cannot jump over. (The court also made this a condition of their plea agreement.)
Still waiting on being reimbursed for vet bills. And the owner has been ordered to take a “Responsible Animal Ownership” class.
I’m playing phone-tag with San Diego County Animal Services/Dangerous Dog Task Force, re:other actions that could be done to ensure this dog does not attack again. (An Officer called and left a message while I was traveling, I’m trying to connect.)
Next court date is in May, to determine if they have complied with these requirements.
So… we are making progress.
I wanted to thankyou for your blog. My dog was just attacked the man in our neighborhood was cussing at me to pick my dog up but I am disabled and could not he kept yelling at me that his dog would attack my beagle sure enough it did now my dog is shell shocked not to mention she has a neck injury n bloody ear animal control in Mo Kansas City area is going to house to assess the dog n safety of the dog don’t give up keep fighting your neighbor